The FAWPL 2017/18 season began with a bang on Sunday. It was a busy day as 31 games across six leagues produced 145 goals. Here is a round-up of the all the action:
There were comfortable wins on the first day of the season for Blackburn Rovers, Huddersfield Town, Leicester City, Fylde and Derby County.
Rovers set about trying to retain their title with a 3-0 win over league newcomers, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Faye McCoy put the champions 2-0 up before Kelsey Pearson doubled the score on the 37th minute. Both sides came close in the second half but there were no further goals added.
Huddersfield jumped to the top of the table with a 4-0 win over West Bromwich Albion. Two goals in three minutes from Charley Evans and Emily Heckler sent them in ahead at half-time. Kate Mallin then scored early and late in the second half to complete the scoring.
After an impressive season last year, Leicester City opened with a 2-0 win over Bradford City. Two goals either side of the break sealed the win for the home side with first Rosie Axten and then Charlotte Greengrass getting on the scoresheet.
Bolstered by some strong summer signings, Fylde brought home a 3-0 win away to Middlesbrough. There were three second half goals as Hannah Forster and Veatriki Sarri scored within two minutes of each other before Lauren Davies added a third in the 66th minute.
Derby County came from behind to gain a 4-1 victory away to Stoke City. Hannah Keryakoplis gave the home side an early lead. However, Derby hit back with three goals in the 10 minutes before the break. Andrea Bell levelled the game before Nicole Ledgister scored a brace. Kelly Kennaugh added a goal in the 51st minute to give her side the victory.
In the final game, Nottingham Forest earned a 1-0 win over Guiseley Vixens through a goal from Hazzana Parnell.
Palace have gone from strength to strength over the last few years and opened their campaign with a 9-0 win over Queens Park Rangers. The ever-influential Gemma Bryan netted five times while new signing Nikita Whinnett notched a hat-trick on her debut. Stefanie Simmons scored the other goal.
Coventry United travelled to the south west where came away with an 8-0 victory against Swindon Town. Alison Hall was the star of the show with four goals before Nikki Miles and a brace from Jade Brook finished off the scoring.
Charlton beat visitors Lewes 6-1 in their fixture at Thamesmead. Lewes took the lead through Katie McIntyre in the seventh minute. However, Charlton responded, equalising through Charlotte Lee before they took a two goal advantage – and own goal and a strike from newcomer Ellie Dorey – just before the break. They further extended their lead in the second half with Kit Graham coming over the bench to score a brace before Charlotte Gurr hit the sixth in the final minute of play.
After a bit of a transitional season last year, Portsmouth opened their season strongly, beating Cardiff City 4-1. Pompey went 2-0 up with goals from Shannon Albuery and Natasha Stephens. Cardiff pulled one back courtesy of an own goal before Samantha Quayle restored the advantage before the break. Pompey were reduced to ten when goalkeeper Michelle Beazley saw red. Cardiff pushed forward but the player numbers were levelled in the 85th minute when Laura Williams was sent to the dressing room. Molly Clark added a fourth with two minutes to play on her return to the club from Yeovil.
C&K Basildon opened with a 2-0 win against newly promoted Chichester City. April-Rose Bowers and Danica Revell score the goals for the home side.
Finally, in a big season opening, Gillingham made a great start to life in the Premier Division with a 1-0 win over West Ham United at the Priestfield Stadium. Kallie Balfour scored the only goal in the 89th minute.
FAWPL Northern Division 1
There were two 6-1 wins in the Northern Division 1 as Chorley overcame Mossley Hill Athletic and Hull City beat Barnsley. It took Chorley just one minute to open the scoring through Scarlet Smith before Kerry Nickson doubled their lead in the 6th minute. Mossley pulled on back with half an hour played when Ceri Ogden struck but two goals from Lisa Topping and Rachel Wood in first half injury time extended the hosts’ lead. They added two more after the break with both Wood and Smith notching braces to complete the win.
There were four goals for Hull City’s Hope Knight as they hosted Barnsley. Rebecca Beech and Ellie Harding opened the scoring before Knight started her goalscoring spree. Barnsley’s goal was scored by Nikki Hogg.
Liverpool Feds began their campaign with a comfortable 4-0 win over Chester le Street Town. Carla Lee scored a first half hat-trick before Carina Mendes added the final goal in the 55th minute.
Bolton Wanderers earned a 3-1 win against Leeds United. Michelle Kirkman-Ryan, Safron Newhouse, and Emma Pilling gave the hosts the lead before Carly Hoyle pulled one back for the visitors.
And there was a real battle in the day’s final game as Brighouse Town scored three late goals to beat Newcastle United away 5-3. Annece Legg gave the hosts the lead with nine minutes on the clock but Charlotte Proud hit back to level immediately for Brighouse. They took the lead just four minutes later when Bridie Hannon converted from close range. Stephanie Lyons equalised for Newcastle shortly after the break and Megan McKenzie put them back ahead with 75 minutes on the clock. However, a late comeback saw Brighouse score three in ten minutes to take home the points. Jodie Redgrave struck first before Aimi Beresford‘s got a brace after coming off the bench.
FAWPL Midlands Division 1
The New Saints were the early table toppers with a strong 8-1 win over Steel City Wanderers. The hosts took the lead in the seventh minute thanks to Kimberley Bebbington. This was followed by two first half braces for both Emily Ridge and Emma Rodden to give them a 5-0 advantage. The visitors got a consolation in the 39th minute through Lucy Ridley. However, they could not stop the Saints in the second half as Ridge got her hat-trick in between two goals from Sophie Davies.
They just missed out on promotion last year but Loughborough Foxes returned on Sunday still one of the favourites for the title. They came away with a comfortable 3-0 victory at home to Birmingham & West Midlands. Charlotte Cooper struck twice early in the second half before Lindsey Tugby finished off the goalscoring in the 65th minute.
Solihull Moors opened their campaign with a 4-2 victory away to Sheffield United. Lois Jefferies scored a hat-trick for the visitors while Abbie Taylor got their fourth. Jenifer Pearson and Taria Marsden scored for Sheffield.
Burton Albion made a positive start to life in the FAWPL with a 1-0 victory over Leicester City. Jordan Atkin scored the only goal of the game just before half-time.
FAWPL South East Division 1
We travelled to Sutton United on Sunday to watch Ipswich Town overcome AFC Wimbledon. All seemed to be going well for the hosts when they took an early lead through a low Kelly-Jade Whelan strike. However, Ipswich levelled the match when Amanda Crump‘s free kick from a wide area confused the Wimbledon defence and went straight into the net. The visitors took the lead early in the second half when Natasha Thomas struck with a fine finish. The Ipswich striker further extended their lead 20 minutes later despite being under heavy pressure from Wimbledon. They came away with a 3-1 win.
Actonians earned the biggest win of the day, putting 13 goals past newcomers Haringey Borough. Alessandra Barreca scored five while there were braces for both Katrina Duncan and Sinthujah Sooriyakumar. Caterina Kensbock, Catherine Murphy and Mariko Engels also got on the scoresheet.
Luton Town overcome Stevenage 5-2 at home. There were braces for the hosts from Zara Carroll and Nicola Henman while Jess McKay scored the other. Amy Josland and Donna McGuigan got on the scoresheet for Stevenage.
Enfield Town came from two goals down to beat Norwich City. The hosts took the lead Aimee Durrant before Chelsea Garrett doubled the score in the second half. Enfield, however made a comeback with four goals in 10 minutes. Lisa Kline scored a brace before Robyn Ami Brown gave the visitors the lead from the penalty spot. Amira Martin sealed the points for Enfield in the 77th minute.
The remaining two games of the day ended in draws. MK Dons hosted Denham United in a game that finished 1-1. Kerry Newmans scored for MK Dons while Alissa Down got the goal for the visitors. Cambridge United‘s game against Leyton Orient ended goalless.
FAWPL South West Division 1
Plymouth Argyle started their promotion challenge with a strong 8-0 win away to St. Nicholas. Their prolific striker, Natasha Knapman, opened her account with five goals while Ezme Wells scored a brace. Kayley Lane also got on the scoresheet.
Brislington came away victorious in their opening game against Basingstoke Town. The hosts won 3-0 with goals coming from Jodie Arkell, Kim Maggs and Chelsea Heal.
There were also three points for Southampton Saints, beating Cheltenham Town 2-0. Gemma Woodford opened the scoring in the 36th minute before Krystal Whyte sealed the win in the second half.
And Poole Town earned a narrow 1-0 victory over Maidenhead United. Samantha Gubb scored the only goal of the game in the 52nd minute.